Easy Vegan Chickpea Curry

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This Vegan Chickpea Curry captures everything you crave about classic curry dishes in a warm, comforting, protein-packed meal. It’s loaded with hearty chickpeas marinated in an aromatic, creamy tomato sauce enhanced with fiery Indian spices. It’s made with simple ingredients, perfect for cool weather, and makes excellent leftovers!

During my time in India, I developed a strong appreciation for spices. I’ve always cooked with herbs, but I didn’t realize the depth of flavor quality spices can bring to quick and easy meatless meals.

Now curries (and Indian food, in general) are my favorite!

This vegan chickpea curry is easy to make and even easier to eat!

You’ll only need a handful of ingredients and about 20 minutes of your time, and just like that – an irresistible vegan dinner is on the table.

This chickpea curry is delightful served hot over a bed of fluffy basmati rice for a healthy weeknight dinner or packed-up bento-style and enjoyed the next day for lunch. 

As a curry lover, I could eat this meal every day. I hope you love it as much as I do!

And if you are looking for an even faster curry recipe, check out this 10-minute chickpea curry.

Ingredients You’ll Need

For this easy vegan curry, you’ll need a handful of ingredients and spices that are easy to find at the grocery store. 

  • Oil: Most curries use vegetable oil or coconut oil. I prefer to use extra virgin olive oil. It’s not traditional for curries, but extra virgin olive oil is much lower in saturated fat than vegetable and coconut oil. 
  • Yellow onion and fresh garlic: Yellow onions and garlic are the first layer of mouthwatering flavor in most curry dishes. You can use red onion or white onion instead of yellow, and adding more garlic is never a bad idea.
  • Grated ginger: Fresh ginger adds a fragrant, zesty element to the dish and makes the other spices pop. Not to mention, it’s packed with digestive benefits.
  • Dry spices: To achieve that distinct warm, peppery curry flavor and rich golden color, dry ground spices are perfectly suited to get the job done. You’ll need garam masala, curry powder, turmeric, cumin, and cayenne. 
Ingredients to make vegan chickpea curry on the table.
  • Chickpeas: AKA garbanzo beans, are an excellent source of complete plant-sourced protein – and they’re tasty!
  • Crushed tomatoes: Adds an acidic, tangy element that enhances the curry flavors.
  • Full-fat coconut milk: Adds a velvety complexity and creaminess to the curry sauce.
  • Water or broth: Helps loosen up the curry sauce, making it extra smooth and silky.
  • Baby spinach: For extra green goodness. Plus, the vibrant green color complements the deep golden curry sauce, making it all the more appetizing. 
  • Fresh Cilantro

How To Make

  1. Saute the aromatics: Heat the oil in a large pan or pot over medium heat, then add the onions, garlic, and ginger and cook until the onions are soft and lightly golden. Next, add the dry spices to the pan, and cook until fragrant. This won’t take longer than a minute!
  2. Cook the chickpeas: Add the chickpeas and cook until lightly toasted and golden, then add the salt, crushed tomatoes, and coconut milk to the pan.
  1. Simmer the curry: Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and gently simmer until the liquid thickens into a luscious curry. Turn off the burner.
Vegan chickpea curry simmering in the pot.
  1. Blend half into a sauce: This is optional, but I love how creamy the curry gets. Blend roughly half of the curry directly in the pot with an immersion blender. Alternatively, you can transfer half of the mixture to a standard blender, blend until smooth, then return the mixture to the pot.
  2. Adjust consistency and season: If the curry is too thick, mix in about a half cup of water or vegetable broth—season to taste with salt. If you like your curry spicy, now is a good time to heat things up with extra chili.
  3. Add greens: Finally, add the baby spinach and chopped cilantro to the pot. As soon as the spinach is wilted, your vegan chickpea curry is ready to eat!

How to Store

This vegan chickpea curry is perfect for meal prep. The flavors are even better the next day!

Fridge: Store your leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

Freezer: To freeze chickpea curry, let it cool completely before transferring it to a freezer-safe container or zip-top bag. It will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Reheating: To reheat, let thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat in a pan over low heat or in the microwave, adding some extra broth or water to loosen it up. 

Chickpea curry in a glass container for meal prep

Tips

Toast the dry spices: When it’s time to add the spices, push the onions aside, and lightly toast the dry spices directly in the pan for 30 seconds. This draws out their aromas and flavors, ultimately enhancing the taste of the whole dish.

Blending makes a difference: Pureeing half of the chickpea curry takes extra effort, but it’s absolutely worth it. It creates a silky smooth finish and the creamiest vegan curry sauce.

If it needs more acid: Crushed tomatoes balance the flavors with an acidic element, but if your curry still tastes like it’s missing something, add a splash of freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice.

Spoon dipping into a vegan chickpea curry.

Variations and Servings Suggestions

Try these fun flavor ideas!

Swap the greens: If you don’t have fresh spinach, you can use frozen spinach. Or, if you’re not a fan of spinach, try adding kale, Swiss chard, collard greens, or beet greens.

Add more veggies: If you want to add more veggies, there’s plenty of room for sweet potatoes, zucchini, cauliflower, bell peppers, butternut squash, carrots, and white potatoes.

Adjust the heat: We all have personal expectations of how spicy curry should be. Plus, spices can be wildly different and have more or less flavor, depending on their origin and freshness. So taste your curry, and adjust the seasonings according to your preferred heat level.

Sides: I love curry over brown rice or basmati rice – with a side of naan bread, of course! For lower carbs, try cauliflower rice or a simple salad.

Load up on toppings: Top with extra cilantro, sliced red onions, and fresh chilis. To add some crunch, sprinkle some chopped cashews over the top of each serving.

Top view of half a plate filled with vegan chickpea curry

Why I Love This Vegan Chickpea Curry

  • Perfect for curry lovers!
  • It’s a warming, comforting meal the whole family will love that takes only 20 minutes.
  • You can adjust the spice level by adding as little or as many spices as you desire.
  • It’s naturally vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and dairy-free.

More Curry Recipes You’ll Love

If you try this vegan chickpea curry recipe, please leave a comment and a rating and let me know how much you liked it!

Bowl of vegan chickpea curry with cilantro and chilies on top.
5 from 3 votes
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Easy Vegan Chickpea Curry

This Vegan Chickpea Curry captures everything you crave about classic curry dishes in a warm, comforting, protein-packed meal. It's made with simple ingredients, perfect for cool weather, and makes excellent leftovers!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian, Vegan
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 543kcal
Author: Sara Trezzi

Ingredients

For the curry

  • 2 tablespoons oil - note 1
  • 1 yellow onion - diced, you can also use red or white
  • 4 garlic cloves - minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger - grated
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 2 teaspoon garam masala
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 15 ounce cans chickpeas - or 3 cups drained (240g drained)
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 14 ounce can coconut milk
  • 1 cup water - or vegetable broth
  • 4 cups baby spinach - packed – note 3
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro - chopped

For serving

  • Cilantro leaves
  • Red onions
  • Fresh chili
  • Basmati rice
  • Naan

Instructions

  • Heat the oil in a large pan or a pot over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the chopped onions, minced garlic cloves, and ginger, and cook for 3-4 minutes until the onions are lightly golden.
  • Add all the spices: garam masala, curry powder, turmeric, cayenne pepper, and ground cumin (note 2). Cook until fragrant for around 30 seconds to a minute.
  • Add the chickpeas and toast for a couple of minutes. Then add the salt, crushed tomatoes, and coconut milk.
  • Bring the curry to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low to keep it gently simmering, and cook for around 10 minutes until it thickens.
  • Turn off the heat and blend roughly half of the curry with an immersion blender. Or transfer the mixture to a standard blender, blend until smooth, and return it to the pan. Blending the curry takes more effort and it's optional, but it will help create a rich and creamy curry sauce.
  • If the sauce is too thick, add another half a cup of water, taste for seasoning, and add more salt if necessary. If you like your curry spicy, now it’s time to add extra chili.
  • Add the baby spinach and chopped cilantro. As soon as the spinach wilt, the curry is ready.
  • Serve with brown or white basmati rice or naan bread, and garnish with extra cilantro, slices of red onions, and fresh chili.

Notes

Note 1: Most curries use vegetable oil or coconut oil. I prefer to use extra virgin olive oil. It’s not traditional for curries, but extra virgin olive oil is much lower in saturated fat than vegetable and coconut oil.
Note 2: We all have personal expectations of how spicy curry should be. Plus, spices can be wildly different and have more or less flavor, depending on their origin and freshness. Taste your curry, and adjust the spices according to your preferred heat level.
Note 3: You can use any greens you like: spinach, kale, Swiss chard, or collard greens.
How to Store: Store your leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
To freeze chickpea curry, let it cool completely before transferring it to a freezer-safe container or zip-top bag. It will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.
To reheat, let thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat in a pan over low heat or in the microwave, adding some extra broth or water to loosen it up. 
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate per serving without rice or bread.

Nutrition

Calories: 543kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 34g | Sugar: 14g

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One Comment

  1. 5 stars
    Love it! Warm and spicy for a cool day!